“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that” ~ Rupi Kaur
I am so often inspired by the words of others. I tuck them away in notebooks, or more often, in the photo roll of my phone. This poem is one of those treasures I’ve held onto, and I wanted to share it with this session today. The session is of my beautiful sister and niece, but instead of just gushing about how physically beautiful they both are, I wanted to also honor those qualities that are less celebrated by our popular culture. Qualities like strength, resilience, gentleness, and devotion.
I think that we, especially women, are entirely too critical of ourselves, our physical appearance, our perceived flaws. After years of criticism, It takes practice to speak kindly to ourselves. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t meant to be perfect. And yet, even if we become comfortable in our skin, accepting or admiring what we look like, we can’t limit our self worth to what we see in the mirror. It will change, it is temporary.
We are so much more than the bodies we live in.
The world tells us that physical perfection is what we should all strive for. It simply isn’t true, but I think it keeps a lot of us from feeling comfortable being photographed.
A camera doesn’t see flaws. A camera sees truth. The truth is, you are beautiful, you are loved, you are worthy. The truth is you have experienced life, overcome obstacles, and soldiered on. You are intelligent, witty, kind, strong, soft, determined, fluid, and a hundred other gifts that make you “beautiful.” It’s okay to honor that. In fact, I encourage it.
Honor who you are and the role you play in this world.
This is the third and final part of my Portraits of Motherhood series.